Any person who considers taking up this all-important role as a teacher/ coach must first recognize that this role is truly a leadership role. Contrary to what some people may think, leadership is an action, not a position, and the primary action of leadership is service.
There will be many instances when one’s own needs and desires will be secondary to the needs of the student-athlete being served. First and foremost, we coaches must have a genuine concern for our players. As my father, the late Dr. Lee Tressel, taught us, “They do not care how much you know until they know how much you care!”
In his book Hotline to Victory, Coach Woody Hayes states, “The coach must have an intense and continuing interest in the welfare and all-around development of each player.” This willingness to be a servant to each and every young person that we are fortunate to coach is the initial commitment that must be made.
A common characteristic of most coaches is that we learn from one another, and at times, borrow from each other. The following characteristics or traits of a leader are ones that I have borrowed from some of the outstanding coaches that I have studied over the years:
- A leader takes risks.
- A leader takes total responsibilities for all of his actions.
- A leader does not judge, he simply evaluates.
- A leader has an aura about him, a sense of impending greatness.
- A leader never quits.
If you have made the decision to lead based on the ideals of taking risks, move on to taking total responsibility.